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Mentor: MARY virginia Swanson

Mary Virginia Swanson's goal is to help photographers find the strengths in their work and identify appreciative audiences for it. Her diverse professional background includes coordinating educational, publication, and exhibition programs for a wide range of institutions and businesses, and she is considered an expert in the area of marketing and licensing fine art. It was during her tenure heading special projects at Magnum Photos that she recognized the opportunities for artists to develop second markets for their work, and in 1991 she founded SWANSTOCK, an innovative agency that manages licensing rights for fine-art photographers.

Mary Virginia currently works individually with photographers as a marketing consultant and is a sought-after portfolio reviewer at events such as Review Santa Fe, FotoFest, and PhotoLucida. Her workshops and lectures on the subjects of industry awareness and marketing opportunities have helped numerous photographers move their careers to the next level.

Mary Virginia's articles have appeared in such print and on-line publications as PND and PDNEDU, Digital Journalist, Nueva Luz, and teachingphoto.com, among others. She serves on the advisory board of Blue Earth Alliance and the “All Roads” Photography Program at National Geographic Society. She maintains a popular blog about opportunities for photographers at www.marketingphotos.wordpress.com and is the author of The Business Of Photography: Principles And Practices. Mary Virginia has taught for the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops for eight years. Her Web site address is www.mvswanson.com.  

“As a mentor, my goal is to aid photographers in finding an appreciative audience for their work, be it regional, national, or international in scope. Central to this task is to provide a realistic view of today's diverse marketplace, and to suggest which market segments will be most likely to respond to their work. 
“I begin by assessing your photography and its readiness to bring to a broader audience; I may, for instance, suggest a tighter edit, or a different presentation format. In addition to preparing your work for its launch into the art market, we will discuss your existing marketing materials, if any, and the overall effectiveness of your ‘brand' today. Next to the physical portfolio of fine prints, your Web site is the single most important element in the marketing and promotion of your work. We will discuss how to bring your images to life in the Internet environment and in your accompanying print materials. 
“I will help you to choose which juried competitions to enter and to create a strong submission (editing and sequencing images, series title/captions, artist statements, and more). We will also discuss the value of attending art gallery expos and other industry events in order to study the market.
“I will advise you on the role of the gallery in your career and share my insights on these business opportunities and related contractual relationships. If your goal is to have a publication of your work, we will discuss your options, from print-on-demand to limited editions to trade publication, and which suits your work and your long-term career goals.”